A recent FOX News Business town hall debate proved once again that no lessons of history will dampen the magic of the socialist’s divine providence. Its magnetic appeal to a man of limited abilities to fulfill his unlimited needs at the expense of the “exploiters of working people” is irresistible.
Without offering a clear definition and ideological purpose of socialism by either side, the discussion had centered on warts and blemishes of a capitalist system. Fixated on the single idea that capitalism is inherently flawed, the socialists advocated its replacement with a government controlled social organization that would presumably ensure universal justice and equality with a plethora of lavish social programs. Although the socialists could not explain how the fulfillment of the egalitarian dreams would be implemented and at what cost, the socialist dreams showed no bounds.
In their quest from reality, the emphasis was not on economics, but on ideological conquest. Therefore any argument, no matter how absurd, ridiculous or simply false, could be thrown forward in support of illusory virtues of socialism.
Marxist economist Richard Wolff at the climactic moment threw down the glove to the host Charles Payne with a bizarre statement that China is an example of successful socialism. “[China] used a very powerful socialist economic model to do one thing, to grow quickly, to stop being poor and to become wealthy,” he said. Yes, it is powerful. The ancient empires had been built on this economic model, which is called slavery. China’s communist regime has been using slave labor, in many instances literally, to convert China into the manufacturing facility of the United States. The reliance on the American market is existential for China. After President Trump closes the trade loopholes, China’s economic model will prove a socialist chimera.
And, there was, of course, the Scandinavian model. The socialist desperate to find success of socialism anywhere pointed out to Scandinavia. Whether the Scandinavian economic model is socialism or capitalism is not even the point. This model is totally foreign to America that has been built on different social and economic principles. The Scandinavian countries given their size — Denmark has a population of the city of Houston – and severe climate, have embraced collectivism as the imperative for survival. The principles of collectivism could easily be confused by some with the ideas of socialism.
Throughout the centuries Scandinavians retained their distinct sense of identity and unique concept of social order. However, what was the imperative then, in modern times is an impediment to innovation and economic progress.
The important distinction is that at the apex of American society stands a heritage of individualism. The United States being a country founded by immigrants looking for freedom from the oppressive political regimes of Europe is a nation with a strong commitment to the values of individual responsibility, personal freedom, and belief in limited government. The acceptance of collectivism would require a massive cultural transformation and a major adjustment in the American DNA — the moral lapse from self-reliance to government dependence that cannot be implemented on a voluntary basis. The whole point of creating the United States was not to be like Europe.
Therefore, the notion that something similar to the Scandinavian social organization could be implemented in this country flouts strategic and historical realities.
Someone even questioned America’s greatness when people lack basic “human rights” such as housing, health care, and food. Despite the host of economic and political challenges no informed and an intelligent observer can deny America’s extraordinary accomplishments in the areas of quality of life, economy, politics and social development.
I used to tell my students that if they cannot express themselves in numbers, they do not know what they are talking about.
Here are some numbers that signify America’s greatness. Just over 100 years ago, in 1913, in the United States:
- The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.
- Only 14 percent of homes had a bathtub.
- Only 8 percent of homes had a telephone.
- Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
- There were only 8,000 cars and 144 miles of paved roads.
- A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost 11 dollars, while the average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents per hour.
- The four leading causes of death were tuberculosis and diarrhea
Innovation and prosperity are the defining characteristics of capitalism. Socialism, on the other hand, isn’t known for innovation, has never created prosperity and ideologically wealth creation isn’t its purpose. The purpose of socialism is economic equality.
Ironically, very few people, including economist Richard Wolff, realize that wealth and economic equality are mutually exclusive. Economic equality can only be in poverty. Socialism has proven it every time it has been tried and no amounts of falsehood can change its record.
Alexander G. Markovsky is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.